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E-P2 or E-PM1 as second body

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by ean10775, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I'm looking at picking up a 2nd m43 body from Cameta in the $200 range. I currently have an E-PL1 and VF-2 that I'm happy as far as IQ goes. As far as native lenses, I've got the 14-42 kit lens that came with it and the Pany 20mm. Additionally I shoot legacy OM and C-mount glass. I'm not looking at picking up any additional native lenses.

    I know the E-PM1 is the newer camera and typically I would go for the the newer tech over something older but the things I like about the E-P2 are:

    1. Look and Build - I lusted over the E-P1 and the E-P2 when they came out, but settled on the E-PL1 because I couldn't justify the price of an E-P2.

    2. Shutter Speed - I often find myself dropping to ISO 100 outdoors just so I can get my shutter speed below 1/2000sec even at f5.6 on some days. Being able to shoot at 1/4000sec at that same ISO 100 when needed seems useful (and unavailable on the E-PM1)

    3. Controls and size -While I've gotten used to the E-PL1 I think I'd appreciate the added controls of the E-P2 and at 6'3" I'm wondering how I'd get on with the small size of the E-PM1 (I've handled one and it seemed like it might be borderline for me)

    I guess what I'm wondering is what would I be missing with the E-P2 that I'd get with the E-PM1? I know the screen is higher res (though smaller), the AF is faster (though since I only have the Pany 20mm and the older kit lens, will it really be that noticeable?), and the Auto WB is better in artificial light. Is there anything else I'm overlooking?
     
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Image wise you won't see much of a difference (if any), In fact I always thought my E-P1 produced slightly better images than my E-PM1 but that could be because the E-P1 (and E-P2) require a bit more attention when using them so I was paying more attention what I was doing. The E-P1 and E-P2 are not what I would call fast in the AF department. The E-PM1 is very quick and also has a much greater resolution LCD although the fact that it is a 16:9 aspect ration somewhat negates that advantage (for me). I found the LCD on the E-PM1 a bit too small. Finally the E-PM1 is minimalist when it comes to controls (buttons and dials). It can be setup so that it a minimum of menu diving is needed however. Oddly it wasn't the lack of physical controls on the E-PM1 that I found problematic but the small size of the body. In he end I sold it because the E-PM1 was just a bit too small for me to use conformably. It's a very nice camera with much to recommend it but in my case not the right fit.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'd get an E-PM1. The faster refresh, rock solid AWB, fast AF and high speed burst rate win my vote. The cons can be worked around.
     
  4. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Isn't this lens dependent? Is there a real improvement even with older lenses such as the 20mm f1.7 and the older 14-42 kit lenses?
     
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Personally, I can easily tell the differences in images but that really all depends on how picky you are as an individual. I noticed a substantial difference when I went from the E-510 to E-3 (unfortunately negative) as well as the E-3 to E-P1 (mix of good and bad in different areas, but mostly positive), and form the E-P1 to E-PL2 (in this case ALL positive IQ changes thanks to the weak AA filter). Also, I turn the Noise Filter off and leave minimal processing in the camera, which allows me to see improvements which are smoothed away by those who use noise reduction or other processing. Plus, it also depends on what you like in your images... I like sharp, crisp images, thus my preference to the images I got out of weak AA cameras like the E-510, E-PL2, E-PM1, etc. Some people like low noise, while others like huge dynamic range even to the point of looking washed out. There is no one perfect "tweaking" of a camera for every individual, and no such thing as everything being better because it's newer. For instance, Olympus had the weak AA filter as far back as the E-510 yet that path was abandoned again until the E-5. All the cameras between those two eras had very strong filters and soft images. Why? No doubt because when the E-510 came out everybody complained about "too much noise" and "not enough dynamic range". If you were around on the internet during that time you would have heard it for sure. I loved the images it produced, and never loved another E-system camera for image quality as much until the E-5/E-PL2 era came about. People don't understand that in order to improve on one area you may have to take away from another, so getting all hung up on one thing doesn't make the camera better (just like the megapixel race).

    Anyways, that was a bit of an off-topic rant just to say that there is a difference but good, bad, or even unnoticeable all depends on the individual. ;)

    Now, back to your dilemma about the E-P2 vs E-PM1... all your arguments are very valid and shows a very strong preference to the E-P2. If things like build quality and low-ISO are important to you, then you simply can't beat the old ways. My brushed silver E-P1 has a cracked LCD but still whenever I take out that body and hold it, I have to breathe a sigh of contentment. It still looks great in pictures, too. ;)

    As you mentioned, the LCD on the E-PM1 is much higher resolution, as with all Pens from the E-PL2 on. This does make a big difference if you need to focus through the LCD, but don't forget that you have the VF-2. That is the one circumstance which I think makes the LCD quality moot for your situation.

    As for size, I don't think that's an issue. You will get used to it whatever size it is. I used to use pro-grade DSLRs, and that was a comfortable fit in my hand. Now I use Pen Minis and do the same thing with them in the same situations and produce the same results... very comfortably. It's all in what you get used to, and it doesn't take long to get used to it (give it weeks, months tops to get comfortable going from a DSLR. Going from a larger Pen won't take even near that long). Many will suggest that you try the camera out in the camera store to see if it fits your hands, but to be honest I don't think that really works. You gotta try it out for longer than that for it to grow on you.

    Of course, the advantage of the Mini's small size is in packing. When you're packing the camera into small bags, then the advantage becomes clear and undisputable.

    Now controls on the other hand... the E-P2 has a big advantage... except for the usefulness of some of the buttons that were introduced later, like the Magnifier (extremely useful if you use legacy lenses). If you're not using legacy lenses though, the E-P2 still reigns in control (over the Mini or Lite, but not the E-P3 or E-M5 of course). The dual dial system gives you quick manual control much in the same manner as the E-5 or E-M5, except that all the controls are on the back rather than at your fingertips (so not as good, but still good).

    So all that said, I'd say the E-P2 has the overall advantage except in two areas - image quality (in sharpness and detail, including in high ISO - although it doesn't sound like you even use high ISO and the old system was significantly cleaner at low ISO) and in Auto White Balance.

    The Image Quality thing, as mentioned, is more of a personal thing. Unless you're a stickler for sharpness and minute details, then the E-P2 would probably suit your purposes better with its lower ISO capabilities. The Auto White Balance of the E-PM1 however, is something else to behold. I never saw another camera adjust so naturally as the third generation Pens in my life. Bring it from outside to incandescent indoors, and you can see it adjust just like the human eye but slower. It's pretty damn cool. :)

    So in summary, I would pretty much give the E-P2 the thumbs up for all your purposes with the AWB of the Mini being the main advantage of the Mini which isn't answered in some way by the E-P2... or its tiny packing size if that is an issue for you, and sharper detail if that's an issue for you.
     
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, there is. The E-PL2 is the first camera which showed significant improvement in AF speed for all native lenses, with the next generation (ie, the Mini) showing improvement for only the newest lenses (ie, R lenses). The E-P1 and E-P2 were quite below the standard, while the E-PL2 brought us up to Panasonic's overall AF speed.
     
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  7. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Thanks, Ned. If there really is an advantage to the AF speed over the E-PL1 even with the older lenses then I think I would certainly weigh that heavily in favor of an E-PM1 or E-PL3 (as I noticed they are quite cheap as well), as I would primarily be using the AF lenses on it with the E-PL1 mounting the legacy glass.
     
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    The E-PL2 brought us up to Panasonic AF speed standard? I don't know about that, I have an E-PL2 here at work at it is nowhere near as fast as my GX1 was. That said, the E-PL2 is certainly nowhere near as slow as the E-P1/P2.

    Also I have noticed a difference in AF speeds between my Panasonic bodies and Olympus bodies. My P20 was definitely slower on Olympus bodies than on Panasonic bodies (even when using the very quick to AF E-P3).
     
  9. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    My experience with the P20/1.7 was that it was a bit faster on faster AF Olympus bodies and a bit faster still on Panasonic bodies. That would lead me to believe that it wasn't entirely lens dependent.
     
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Most folks have covered the angles. Here's my input: The EPM1 has dodgy IBIS. I've never heard of an issue with the EP2 IBIS.

    For me, I found I could live without the IBIS, and preferred the smaller body and faster AF. You might have a different take.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    You've though long and CORRECTLY about the issue, so I can confidently recommend the e-P2 for daytime outdoor photographic pleasure.

    1.Look and build. Hell yes.
    2.1/4000sec and ISO100Jpegs: vital for me, vital.
    3. Controls:thumbwheel=WIN! Size, yes. I'll tell you something else : my e-P1(withOVF) slips into my pocket much easier than my e-pL1, I'm not kidding.

    4.Screen: the e-pM1 screen is tiny and crappy, they even changed the text and menu boxes to make them truly awful. More resolution? Sure, for myopic brain surgeons.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Thanks for all the replies. Despite flirting with the idea of an E-PL3, I decided to go with my original plan which was to get the E-P2.
     
  13. Jimbo3rd

    Jimbo3rd Photog GoGo

    51
    Mar 10, 2011
    Central Florida/Disney area
    Jim Sullivan
    Ean, if your interested I have a like mint E-P2 along with other equipment that I will be puting up shortly. If your interested you can drop me a pm and I will fill you in.
     
  14. redington

    redington Mu-43 Regular

    140
    Apr 28, 2012
    I'm on my iPhone and can't find/link to it, but there is a thread on here somewhere about problems with the pannie 20mm focus hunting in low light on the epm1, which doesn't seem to happen on any other body. I'd look at that and think strongly about the ep2 since the 20mm is your money lens from the looks of things.
     
  15. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    In my experience, that's not an issue. In fact, the EPM1 has an AF assist light (I don't think the EP2 does), and just in general better focusing than the first two gens of Pen cams.
     
  16. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    660
    Sep 17, 2012
    UK
    It just so happens that I have an EPM1 with the 20mm attached on the desk in front of me. If I try to focus under the desk, it hunts and cannot lock on (In all fairness, its quite dark under there with a lot of black cases, so not a lot of contrast). The same thing happens with the Sigma 30mm attached. If I put either lens on my G2, it locks on instantly. In good light, or should I say in better contrast conditions, the EPM1 is much quicker than the G2.

    My approach to getting a second body was choosing one from the other team. I find their respective differences give a wider range of usefulness, plus it's good to have a foot in both camps.

    As for the EPM1's size and control, there is something I find really appealing about it, though I have to work a lot harder to get a similar IQ to my G2.
     
  17. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    is the EPM1 AF assist light on or off?
     
  18. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    660
    Sep 17, 2012
    UK
    Its on with both bodies. The G2 is definitely stronger whilst the EPM1 is definitely quicker in the right conditions.
     
  19. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    919
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    The 20mm hunts in the dark with my EM5 and EPM1, but it's not a real problem. The 20mm has always worked for nightscapes on my EPM1.

    Doing the under the desk test, where mine requires a 4 second exposure at f1.8, ISO 200, both can get lost if asked to look at a no contrast area w/o the AF light. With any contrast at all, the EPM1 can lock focus in a second or two, much less if the AF lamp is on. The 14mm is 2X faster on either camera.

    I'm sure ean will like the EP2.
     
  20. I think that for use with adapted lenses, the E-P2 still has the same awkward arrangement as the E-P1 where you need to select the small focus point and magnified view as a display mode rather than having a simple button press to go in and out.